Reflection: Accountability How Big Can An Amoeba Get? - Section 6: Class Discussion: Determining the Relationship Between Surface Area to Volume


I had a student ask a question a couple of days ago about how big an amoeba could get. He was really excited about the hay infusion lab because he was starting to see ciliates and amoeba. Every day he observed his hay infusion and saw the animal-like protists were getting bigger.  Naturally, he was curious if there was something that would limit their growth.  

I could have answered his question immediately. However, I stopped myself because I thought about this lab. Having students discover answers on their own is so much more powerful than simply giving them the answer. I asked him if I could wait to answer his question because I had a lab that would do such a better job. He was okay to wait for the answer if it meant we got to do another lab. 

The results were so much better for this students and his peers because they got to see first hand the effects of increasing cell size. They were also forced to calculate the change in surface area to volume ratio. The hands-on activity helped them create memories that will allow them to remember the concept in a way that simply hearing the quick answer to the question would not.

Check out my teaching reflection that explains why you should teach students how derived measurements (like surface area to volume ratio) are calculated.  

  Accountability: Answering Students' Questions Through Experiments
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How Big Can An Amoeba Get?

Unit 4: Protists
Lesson 11 of 11

Objective: Students will explore the relationship between surface area, volume, and the maximum size of a cell.

Big Idea: Can an amoeba attack me while I'm swimming in the lake? Find out in today's lab.

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Cells and Cellular Processes, Science, homeostasis, stability and change, Protists, surface area to volume ratio
  46 minutes
the blob
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